0332 GMT October 22, 2021
It was the first day back to school for many across the US, with students looking to make their feelings about the move to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) scheme clear.
Hundreds of students walked out in Denver, Colorado, Washington DC, San Francisco and other cities in the country.
Several thousand people marched through San Francisco on Tuesday night in a call to arms against Trump’s decision.
“We’re here to stay,” protesters chanted as they brought a swathe of downtown to a standstill and urged Congress to protect the DACA.
Beyond the protests, Democrats and civil liberties advocates blasted Trump.
“President Trump's decision to end DACA is a deeply shameful act of political cowardice and a despicable assault on innocent young people in communities across America,” said Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced the decision to end the program, said the action does not mean the DACA recipients are “bad people.”
“To have a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest, we cannot admit everyone who would like to come here. It's just that simple. That would be an open-border policy and the American people have rightly rejected that,” Sessions said.
In a statement issued by the White House, Trump said, “I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.”
Protests were held around the country in response to the DACA announcement as well. In New York City, activists marched from Centarl Park down Fifth Avenue to Trump Tower, the private residence of the President.
The DACA program was enacted five years ago by the administration of former President Barack Obama. The program was geared toward helping young immigrants who had come into the United States illegally as children, when they were too young to make their own decision on the matter. The program did not provide protections for parents of those DACA recipients, however another program pushed by the Obama administration sought to do so.
Since 2012, nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants have received protections through DACA, which allows young immigrants to apply for and receive work permits. Many of those DACA recipients have been able to pursue careers and study in American schools and universities. Many have also started families during that time. A considerable portion of DACA recipients have been in the United States long enough that they know no other home than America, and would not know what to do if forced to move back to their countries of citizenship. DACA primarily benefits Hispanics. Most people covered by the program are in their 20s.